In irrefutable proof that no one ever really has an idea what Lou Lamoriello is up to until he damn well wants you to know, the New York Islanders have reached a contract extension with unrestricted free agent-to-be Jordan Eberle.
It’s a five-year contract that several including Pierre LeBrun are reporting has an average annual value (AAV) of $5.5 million per season.
That actually represents a drop in annual rate, as Eberle is coming off a $6 million AAV deal signed with the Edmonton Oilers. But it’s a realistic move, since Eberle turned 29 last month and this contract will take him to his mid-30s. He surely could have chased more on the open market, but he’s found a good fit on Long Island and this approach makes it less likely that he has signed a windfall deal some team regrets by the end.
Cap Friendly has the details, with peak compensation of $7.25 million (salary + bonus) in Year 1/2019-20 and $7 million (salary) in Year 3/2021-22, then descending to $3.75 million in Year 5/2023-24:
Jordan Eberle #Islanders— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 14, 2019
5 years / $5.5M AAV ($27.5M total value)
2019-20: $5.25M Base + $2M SB
2020-21: $4.75M Base
2021-22: $7M Base
* Full NTC years 1 & 2, Mod NTC in years 3 to 5 (16 team no trade)https://t.co/t6CHThGcd3 pic.twitter.com/mECZ23rCCY
Eberle’s production dropped last season under Barry Trotz, as he fell a goal short of the 20-goal mark that he has hit with regularity in his career. But late in the season and in the playoffs, Trotz reunited Eberle with Mathew Barzal, and the two resumed their production together. Eberle’s four goals in the first round were a big part of sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It wasn’t as prolific as what they produced under Doug Weight the previous season, but there are obvious reasons for that, since the reason Trotz split them to begin with was to integrate each of them into the more structured and defensively disciplined scheme he preaches.
The Islanders went from most goals allowed in the league in 2017-18 to fewest in 2018-19 with a very similar roster, and a major part of that was Trotz. Now Trotz has at least once scoring duo in place for the foreseeable future.
Eberle: “I obviously talked to Lou at the end of the year and really focused on trying to get something done. I really liked the team, the guys. My wife and I love it there. It just made sense.” Negotiations didn't begin until after season.— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) June 14, 2019
Jordan Eberle says once his game got going, February on and into the playoffs, he really wanted to come back to #Isles. "Nice coming back with some stability and some familiarity." Wants to have another full year with Lou and Barry.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) June 14, 2019
#Isles Jordan Eberle: "I’m not a young buck anymore. I’m 29. Definitely winning becomes more of a priority...In my mind, I like the direction the Islanders are going....I think we have as good a chance as any team, in my mind."— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) June 14, 2019
Eberle: “I think you talk to a lot of people who have played on Long Island, they all say the same thing. It’s a great community. Fans love their hockey. They’re passionate about it." #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) June 14, 2019
The Islanders still have captain Anders Lee and Vezina nominee goalie Robin Lehner as key unrestricted free agents to try to sign, after reaching terms with center Brock Nelson last month. They know they need to add more scoring punch up front this summer, but at least now they know they do not also have to replace Eberle.